No matter how careful you are behind the wheel of your car, you can only reduce your risk of a crash. By choosing not to engage in dangerous behaviors, like drinking and driving or texting while you drive, you do your part to keep the roads safe and comply with the law.
Other people simply will not do the same, which could put you at risk of a collision. In accidents and crashes caused by someone's negligence, such as distracted driving crashes, knowing your rights is important to a positive outcome.
Mobile devices are a serious source of distraction
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, even a short text message creates a lot of potential danger. If you're driving at 55 miles per hour and look down to read a text for five seconds, you've missed a lot. In fact, you've traveled the whole length of a football field with your eyes on something other than the road.
Even if you only check your phone at intersections, you could end up more engaged with your phone than your surroundings. That could mean missing something, like an oncoming vehicle, when you pull out into traffic.
Choosing not to send, read or compose text messages while you're driving cuts your personal risk. However, if someone driving close to you chooses to look away from the road to respond to a text, that could still result in a distracted driving crash. If you can avoid driving close to people who are clearly engaged with a digital device behind the wheel, do so.
Not all distraction involves cellphones
While cellphones are an obvious source of distraction, they are not the only risk factor for distracted driving. Talking on a cellphone, even with a hands-free headset, or talking with passengers in the vehicle can also be a deadly distraction. So can eating, drinking, changing the radio station or adjusting your clothing.
Anything that takes your eyes or your mind off of the task at hand could create distraction issues that could lead to a preventable collision. Your best option when operating a motor vehicle is always to focus fully on the road until you've safely reached your destination.
Make sure to voice your concerns about distraction after a crash
If you've experienced a collision with someone you believe was distracted at the time, make sure to let the police officer making the accident report aware of your concerns. Law enforcement can check digital records to see if the phone was in use. They can also check traffic camera footage to verify if there are obvious signs of distraction on the part of the other driver.
In the wake of a crash caused by someone else's negligence, protecting your rights is the most important consideration. Law enforcement verification of distracted driving could help you if you have to pursue legal action against the other driver involved.